The Latest: Macron appeals for French unity in virus fight
PAPEETE, French Polynesia — French President Emmanuel Macron has appealed for national unity and vaccination to fight the resurgent virus, and lashed out at those fueling anti-vaccination sentiment and protests.
About 160,000 people protested around France on Saturday against a special COVID-19 pass for restaurants and mandatory vaccinations for health workers. Many marchers shouted “liberty!” and said the government shouldn’t tell them what to do.
Macron visited a hospital in French Polynesia on Saturday night Tahiti time. He asked “what is your freedom worth if you say to me ‘I don’t want to be vaccinated,’ but tomorrow you infect your father, your mother or myself?”
He said protesters are “free to express themselves in a calm and respectful manner.” But Macron said demonstrations won’t make the coronavirus go away.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:
— Europe’s summer tourism outlook dimmed by variants, rules
— Two COVID-19 patients dead after power outage at Jordan hospital
— Unvaccinated may face restrictions in Germany, official says
— Spaniards put faith in COVID-19 vaccines even as cases surge
— Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia has reported a new daily high of 17,045 infections.
That pushes the country’s total confirmed cases above the 1 million mark. Daily cases in Malaysia rose above 10,000 on July 13 and have stayed there since despite a national lockdown.
The health ministry said Sunday that total infections have now reached 1,013,438. This represented a 77% rise since the lockdown began June 1.
The country’s richest and most populated state Selangor and neighboring Kuala Lumpur accounted for the majority of infections.
Total deaths in the country have also risen to nearly 8,000. Critics have slammed Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government over what they say was inconsistent policies and half-baked lockdowns that failed to curb the pandemic.
BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s chief of staff says restrictions for unvaccinated people may be necessary if case numbers reach new heights in the coming months.
But Helge Braun said in an interview with the newspaper Bild am Sonntag that he doesn’t expect another coronavirus-related lockdown in Germany.
Braun said that unvaccinated people may be barred from entering venues like restaurants, movie theaters and stadiums “because the residual risk is too high.”
Braun said getting vaccinated is important to protect against severe disease and because “vaccinated people will definitely have more freedoms than unvaccinated people.”
Braun said that such policies would be legal because “the state has the responsibility to protect the health of its citizens.”
Germany’s vaccine efforts have slowed in recent weeks and that has led to discussions about how to encourage those who haven’t yet received a vaccine to do so. More than 60% of the German population has received at least one dose while over 49% are fully vaccinated.
AMMAN, Jordan — Jordan’s health minister says two coronavirus patients have died at a hospital in Amman after a short circuit knocked out power at the facility’s intensive care unit.
Health Minister Firas Al-Hawari told state media that two people were confirmed dead at the hospital.
Investigators were working to determine the cause and whether the power outage was responsible for the deaths. Former Health Minister Nathir Obeidat resigned earlier this year after several COVID-19 patients died at a government hospital in Salt when their oxygen supply ran out.
LONDON — Chaos and confusion over travel rules and measures to contain fresh virus outbreaks are contributing to another cruel summer for Europe’s battered tourism industry.
Popular destination countries are grappling with surging COVID-19 variants.
But the patchwork and last-minute nature of the efforts as the peak season gets underway threatens to derail another summer.
Visitors to cultural and tourist sites in France were confronted this week with a new requirement for a special COVID-19 pass.
Italy has said that people will need a similar pass to access museums and movie theaters and dine inside restaurants and cafes.
BEIJING — China has reported 32 new confirmed coronavirus infections.
Those include 27 believed to have been acquired abroad. No deaths were reported.
The National Health Commission reported that six of the cases believed to have come from abroad were in Yunnan on China’s southwestern border with Myanmar. Five were adjacent to Hong Kong in Guangdong. And four each were in Shanghai and Fujian province in the southeast.
Everyone in a county in Yunnan near the Myanmar border is due to be tested Monday and Tuesday for the virus following a spike in infections. China has tightened border controls.
China’s death toll stands at 4,636 out of a total of 92,529 confirmed cases.
BARCELONA, Spain — Spain is working to stamp out a wave of COVID-19 infections and is relying on widespread public trust in COVID-19 vaccines.
Spain was like its fellow European Union members at first. The country got off to a slow start in administering shots compared to Britain and the United States.
But Spain quickly made up ground once vaccine deliveries started flowing to meet demand. More than 24 million Spaniards are fully vaccinated. That represents 53% of the adult population.